It’s pretty easy to calculate. If it’s just a simple window swap-out, the entire project can often be done in a day. If there are just a few windows involved, a single installation team can often have it wrapped up in a single session in one day – sometimes even in a morning – but there are more often than not challenges unique to the region we live in. Namely, minor moisture damage, custom fit windows for unusual or non-standard window sizes, and extra steps to take to prevent weather damage to the new window system being installed.
An apartment complex, for example, will often schedule the work in sections. The same (possibly large) team might do one block in a complex at a time, and completing it in its entirety, before moving on to the next block. In addition, minimizing the interruptions for any given resident will be an optimal choice, so every resident will have an experience of only a day or so of interruption. Windows installation companies like often to work inside regular office hours, and only on an exceptional basis work on a weekend. Still, with the economy growth in the Pacific Northwest at the moment, installation companies and other contractors are working weekends to keep up with the demand while it lasts, rather than taking on bigger numbers of staff.
What if there is a structural problem, and a window doesn’t quite fit?
Houses made of wood have a unique challenge. They change shape over time in a way that concrete or brick built houses do not. They may no longer be an actual rectangle, in fact, or the sides of the house wall around the window frames have become slightly bowed. So now you have a situation where a perfectly rectangular window frame needs to fit into an odd-shaped hole in the wall. Some readjustment work will be needed, either replacing any bowed lumber elements, or what is essentially carving a piece to fit the odd shape, thereby making a hole what will fit the new window frame exactly. Each situation is unique, but still, must be made to fit a schedule without creating a huge project out of a small problem. Experienced windows installers will want to know as best as possible what they are up against before they even bid on the project, and for that reason will often do their own inspection. If there is any imminent problem – such as wood rot or structural damage – they will need to draw that out in any bid, and potentially line up specific skills for that to take place in the middle of the windows replacement operation. This is because repair work usually has to be done after the old window is ripped out, but before the new one is installed. That makes for a gaping hole in the middle of your house wall, so time is of the essence.
A bigger team can work fast, but doubling the team doesn’t mean halving the time
Anyone who has employed lots of staff in their career or when they owned a business will have learned that just because you double the number team members, you might not always cut in half the time it takes to complete a project. For example, going from a team of five to a team of ten might mean that you have to hire an additional supervisor. Perhaps you were the first one, but you can’t easily manage an additional five windows installers without also adding some down time while people wait on you while you’re dealing with the other half of the team. Additionally, beyond a certain point, team members begin to get in each other’s way. Perhaps there is one complete set of tools, but now it has to be spread across more workers, thus creating occasional waiting times while some people are waiting for the others to wrap up a stage of a project.
A lot depends on project size, and whether you do have all the tools necessary so that at no point, no one is needing anything.
Forward planning saves more time during window installation
Once a windows team shows up at the door to replace your windows, the “clock has begun to tick”, as they say. A windows installation company will want to know that nothing will now get in their way of doing the work and finishing up on time. More distractions or more delays means higher costs. That’s why such a windows installer will want to nail down every detail before a bid is made and before the work begins. A plan that utilizes all of the skilled people on the job without any downtime equates to a more profitable project and one that disrupts their client the least.
A window inspection is not the same as the section of a house inspection that covers the windows. Although a qualified home inspector may well find a problem with your windows, it’s not the primary focus of a home inspection that needs to look at everything from plumbing to the roof structure to everything else. A professional and experienced windows installer will focus on anything that may interfere with a smooth windows installation project. He is, therefore, very likely to find a windows problem if one exists.
Low and high quality window installation
You can, in fact, do your own windows installation. It’s not a trivial skill, but if you’re “handy” and you also get some training on the subject, you might take a shot at it. It’s not something I personally would try, because when it goes wrong, it can have a truly damaging effect on your house and your investment. It’s not worth it, unless you are a windows installation expert. What’s more, the cost of windows has actually come down over the decades as far as I can see. And the quality of window products has gone up. They are manufactured with precision today, and not like they used to be. The result is lower costs and higher quality. Let an expert do the work for you, and take full advantage of their experience and the high quality products available on the market today.
More next week, if you’re around.